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SmartGrid unleashed by Koolen Industries to tackle large-scale energy storage needs

Hengelo, The Netherlands. 6 February, 2020.

Dutch clean energy conglomerate Koolen Industries has launched SmartGrid, a new energy storage company that will deliver integrated large-scale energy storage solutions, for its fast-growing international clients. These energy storage solutions will connect multiple batteries using smart software. SmartGrid is a spin-off company from lithium battery producer Super B, which received more demand for large-scale energy storage solutions.

Two men stand in front of a SmartGrid battery container
Gerben Hilboldt (CEO SmartGrid and CTO Koolen Industries), Jos Blom (Strategic Advisor Koolen Industries)

“SmartGrid has emerged in response to a desperate need for a one-stop solution to the increasingly complex challenges faced by companies that are not only participating in, but also contributing to and driving, a rapid and essential transition to renewable energy,” said Gerben Hilboldt, CEO, SmartGrid and chief technology officer (CTO), Koolen Industries.

SmartGrid will be both an addition to and a natural extension of Koolen Industries’ subsidiary Super B, a pioneering lithium battery company.

Since it was founded more than a decade ago, Super B has evolved from its position as a revolutionary challenger to lead acid batteries, to become an internationally renowned designer and producer of ultra-safe, bespoke lithium batteries that serve industries as diverse as powersports, recreational vehicles (RVs) and maritime. Super B and Koolen Industries have invested more than 5 million euros in the smart grid concept to date.

“With this spin-off, we will create strategically important and enormously complex systems that will help our clients store energy from solar and wind on a large scale, thereby safeguarding the availability of clean energy whenever and wherever it is needed, for instance for periods when there is no sun or wind,” said Kees Koolen, CEO, Koolen Industries.

The two companies, which are both 100% owned by Koolen Industries, will share resources while at the same time leveraging their specialist expertise in areas such as energy management, energy conversion, and systems engineering and integration. They will both deliver both bespoke and off-the-shelf solutions in response to their clients’ requirements.

“This two-thronged approach will help both companies pick up pace in both product development and revolutionary solutions for users, which are absolutely essential if we are to stay ahead of our rivals in two of the world’s fastest battery market segments,” said Dennis De Zeeuw, CEO, Super B.

Where knowledge, skills and experience overlap, the two companies will seek efficiencies.

“The main focus for us both, however, will be a new kind of laser-sharp focus on international safety and quality standards, alongside our results-focused research and development efforts. I am proud to say that apart from the battery cells, which are produced by our trusted suppliers, we will develop and produce these energy systems entirely in the Netherlands,” said Hilboldt.

Specialist knowledge and skills

SmartGrid will specialise in complex, large-scale energy storage systems, which link multiple batteries and are managed by smart software. The company’s specialist knowledge and skills will ensure that low-cost scalable systems will be offered throughout the entire product range.

“Storage systems are a vital part of the energy transition, as it links energy generation with energy consumption. We will excel in large-scale stationary and mobile applications that offer safe, flexible and highly reliable storage capacity, with relatively short delivery times,” said Koolen.

“SmartGrid and Super B will complement each other, allowing both of us to focus on our respective niches. More broadly, this will bolster Koolen Industries’ ability to offer suitable solutions to every kind of challenge, whether on a small or a large scale, and we will be doing this in all markets,” said de Zeeuw.

As a part of Koolen Industries, Super B will make its lithium iron phosphate battery solutions available for a greater range of applications.

“Super B has gone through a huge learning curve in the past few years and has developed a lot of knowledge about how these energy systems can be used on a large scale,” said Hilboldt.

For example, eight electric canal boats are currently sailing in the canals of Amsterdam with between 77 and 99 inter-linked Super B batteries on board.

“Their marine-certified battery systems are controlled by unique battery management systems that make us a leader in this rapidly growing market,” said de Zeeuw.

Group efforts

Super B and SmartGrid will work closely not just with each other, but also with other companies in the Koolen Industries group. Battery sharing company SKOON, for instance, commissioned a 638KWh energy container to power inland vessels such as container ships operating on Europe’s network of rivers and canals. This container was equipped with standard Super B batteries, while the SmartGrid team secured the required marine certification.

“Gerben Hilboldt’s automotive industry background makes him ideally suited to oversee this kind of work. He, more than anyone, understands how to apply modular thinking to the process of integrating batteries, software and hardware architecture to build complete energy storage solutions that give our customers complete peace of mind,” said Koolen.

“We develop the software in-house, and this means we can be both flexible and versatile as we deliver a range of options suited to how each energy container will be used in the real world. We can offer applications such as peak shaving, load balancing and micro grid, and we offer solutions for both AC (Alternating Current) and DC (Direct Current) energy networks,” said Hilboldt.

“Add to that our ability to respond quickly to rapidly changing demand conditions, and I am convinced that we have discovered a recipe for success here.”

By way of example, SmartGrid is in the final phase of delivering a container for a project that delivers DC power to a highway. In this project, a nearby solar park will deliver electricity both to the highway’s DC system and to a SmartGrid battery container, which will act as an energy buffer and a back-up system.

“Our technology places us at the heart of this embryonic market, and as the energy transition accelerates, we will rise to the challenge. We are ready to supply what’s required as this highly competitive market continues to expand,” said Hilboldt.

About SmartGrid

SmartGrid offers energy storage systems for industrial and mobile applications, based on the principles of Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries, flow batteries or chemical and liquid energy storage solutions. In addition, Smart Grid offers modules that can interface via smart technologies from the different energy storage systems to the different end-user applications. Through a unique and flexible design, Smart Grid has brought the technology to its robust, modular and scalable products. The systems are applied in various applications and markets. This can vary from a few kW per hour to several MW per hour, supplied both as standard container solutions and as customer-specific solutions.

SmartGrid’s design makes it possible to make an autonomous link with clean energy production (solar or wind) and existing electricity networks in a simple way, in order to supply energy on AC and DC in the various application areas via (temporary) storage. Through our in-house developed software and thorough system integration set-up, our customers can use the energy systems for, among other things, energy trading, peak shaving, load balancing, DC and AC micro grid, and back-up power (UPS).

About Super B

Super B develops and produces advanced lithium batteries. Super B’s lithium batteries offer the possibility to enjoy freedom and autonomy in a hassle-free and relaxed manner. Worrying about how long the battery will last is not necessary. Super B batteries are easy to install and offer huge energy reserves. They also weigh substantially less and last considerably longer than other batteries. Super B batteries deliver much more energy than ever before.

About Koolen Industries

The mission of Koolen Industries is to enable everyone to contribute to and participate in the energy transition. Generating clean energy from wind and the sun, and developing solutions that store, transport and deliver this energy, we provide consumers with an autonomous life, independent of the grid.

Koolen Industries invests in and builds a group of companies that together will make sure renewable energy will always be available, whenever and wherever it is needed. Reliable and safe. Made possible by ingenious software.

Since its inception in 2019, Koolen Industries announced investments in BonGo Solar (solar panel installations), Super B (lithium batteries), SmartGrid (Energy Storage Systems), Elestor (flow batteries), Proton Ventures (clean energy storage in ammonia), Skoon Energy (cloud platform for renting mobile energy storage and mobile energy storage containers), Floading Energy (charging infrastructure), Hardt Hyperloop (hyperloop technology), Aziobot (a robotics startup developing a cleaning robot with revolutionary autonomous AI software) and EIT InnoEnergy, a company that invests in sustainable energy start-ups across Europe.


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